Commissioner Rebecca Lucero to lead investigation
Today, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights will begin an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) after filing a civil rights charge related to the death of George Floyd. This investigation into policies, procedures, and practices over the past 10 years will determine if the MPD has engaged in systemic discriminatory practices towards people of color and ensure any such practices are stopped. Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero will lead the investigation.
Minnesota has one of the strongest civil rights laws in the country. It is illegal for a police department to discriminate against someone because of their race. This important action against an entire police department will allow the Department of Human Rights to take swift action in response to any determination of civil rights violations.
“Silence is complicity. Minnesotans can expect our administration to use every tool at our disposal to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in our state,” said Governor Tim Walz. “As we move forward, we ask the community to watch what we do, not what we say. It is going to take action at all levels from the neighborhood on up, to get the change we need to see. This effort is only one of many steps to come in our effort to restore trust with those in the community who have been unseen and unheard for far too long.”
“All of us agree that hate and discrimination should not be part of the fabric of this great state,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “But the grief and anger of this past week did not emerge from a vacuum. This is about a culture that continues to go unchecked. We can and must choose to do better. George Floyd, and the state as a whole, deserves this of us.”
“George Floyd should be alive. He deserved to live a life full of dignity and joy,” said MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. “Community leaders have been asking for structural change for decades. They have fought for this and it is essential that we acknowledge the work and commitment of those who have paved the path to make today’s announcement possible.”
“The State’s actions today are a critical next step in the process of achieving reforms in the Minneapolis Police Department that City leaders have worked to advance for several years,” Minneapolis Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel said in a statement. “The City of Minneapolis cannot do this work alone and the collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is necessary to achieve the results we need to create transformational change within MPD.
“This important and difficult work must begin immediately. I will be addressing the City Council’s Policy & Government Oversight Committee on Thursday to outline the path forward for this critical process.
“Every time we let a Black man’s murder at the hands of the state go unpunished, we chip away a piece of the soul of this country,” continued Kobel. “George Floyd should not have died. He died calling out for his mother. Let’s do the work so that no other Black mom has to go through life without her son.”
The Department of Human Rights will seek agreement from city leadership and the MPD to immediately implement interim measures in advance of long-term measures to address systemic discriminatory practices.
Minnesotans with information that can further the investigation into the MPD should contact the Department of Human Rights at mn.gov/mdhr or 651-539-1100.